Fussy or picky eating habits in children can be very stressful for parents. Most mothers say that getting kids to eat is very stressful; let alone eat the right foods. As a parent, you can make mealtime an enjoyable activity for the whole family by helping to develop positive attitudes towards foods that support good health throughout a lifetime. The following tips can help you manage food choices for toddlers, preschoolers, and growing school kids.
This is how food is fun: Introduce your child to a variety of foods and encourage them to enjoy the food. Various foods from the food groups go well with a healthy, balanced diet.
Offer familiar foods: Children are more likely to choose foods they are familiar with than new foods. Offer toddlers simple finger foods they know. Slowly introduce one new food at a time until they get used to it so they are more likely to eat it. If they don’t accept a new food right away, they won’t have a fit. Give them time to get used to it. Be patient.
Promoting fruit and vegetables: Offer a variety of fruits and vegetables as they are rich in essential nutrients (vitamins and minerals). Finger foods like carrot sticks, chopped fruit like oranges are great. These foods are low in fat and high in nutrients and fiber.
Establish a meal schedule: Provide nutritious foods with regular meals and snacks. Then let your child decide what foods and how much to eat.
Let kids explore and observe: All children are naturally curious. They want to discover and try new foods. Involve your child in the preparation of the meal – you can also simply let your child watch you chop up vegetables or fruit. Talking to them about food improves their acceptance of new foods at an early age.
Provide healthy snacks: Most toddlers need to eat more often than older children. So make sure you give them their favorite high-energy and nutrient-dense healthy snacks – parathas stuffed with veggies, rotis kneaded with dal instead of water, potato cutlets stuffed with veggies are some examples of nutritious Indian snacks.
Fun and activity go hand in hand with healthy eating and are important for a child’s growth and development. Make time for your child to engage in activities such as playing in the park, bicycling, jumping, and other organized sports activities. Active children who play 1-2 hours a day tend to be less picky about food.
Thanks to Pallavi Pinge